Monday, December 10, 2007


We spent Thanksgiving at the Lawler's this year and had LOTS of great pies, as is our custom, great food, and lots of fun! For those of you that aren't in our Thanksgiving tradition, I'll share it with you. I think everyone should adopt it. It started a long time ago when my mom would be slaving away getting everything ready for an enormous dinner and my dad would come in and sneak pieces of pie. She got tired of shooing him out and then having to argue with us ("but Dad has pie...Why can't I have some?" in the most whiny tone imaginable). Finally she gave up and just said, "Here! Have all the pie you want!" So she just started making extra pies and letting us have a free for all! Now we have Thanksgiving pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then we have some turkey along with our meal of pie. It's GREAT! We all love it.

This year, Ryker tried to hang on for dinner, but just couldn't make it. For any of you that know Ryker and his sleeping habits, this is SO not typical:
And Granddad plopped this down on Raelin's plate, just to see what would happen. Unfortunately, I had no warning and didn't get a chance to take a photo of the initial look of delight and excitement. But here's Raelin gobbling (pardon the pun) up an enormous turkey leg.

And... Um... I have no explanation. Gina and I discovered that the napkin rings would fit just tightly enough in our eye sockets that we could wear glasses without ear pieces or nose pieces. Don't ask... We're retarded.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Raelin's Birthday

Raelin's birthday was a blast! What a fun-filled, busy day. She wanted to go to the park, so Raelin, Ryker, Mimi (Brice's mom, who came for Raelin and Liam's birthdays), and I walked to the park and played and played! They had a great time!

Raelin likes the swings best.

When we got home, Raelin wanted to do a project, so we got out some playdoh. This is Raelin's penguin that she made. It has wings and a beak and everything! I was REALLY impressed!In the evening, we had a BIG dinner with lots of family and extended family twice removed (it's too confusing--you'd need a diagram). At least this year we had room to accommodate everyone! Last year we had most of the same people (a few additions this year) and boy, was it crowded! Brice's mom made the best fried chicken any of us had ever had! The kids played some fun games. Brice made a beanbag toss that also served as a jungle gym:

Winter and Ryker were great at it (though Ryker mostly just got lucky). Just to give you an idea of how confusing our extended family is, Winter is this cute little boy in the orange shirt, and he is Brice's brother's wife's sister's husband's grandson (ridiculous, isn't it!) and just to confuse things further, his aunt is the pretty princess in the blue sweater, Renee.

The kids also played the fishing game that we always had at our birthday parties when I was a kid. We would throw the "fishing pole" over the backyard fence and when we felt a tug, we would reel in gummy fish or gummy worms. We don't have a backyard fence yet and we also don't have the temperate weather of California, so we did it over the pony wall around the stairs.

Little cheaters spied on the fish in the stream...
And found Granddad!Present time was great! Raelin got so many great presents! She loves to do crafts, so she got LOTS of "project" stuff, some fun games, and lots of other toys!
Then came the grand finale! Drum roll please! Raelin got a SNAKE!!!! That's what she wanted for her birthday more than anything. She was so happy and excited and it still hasn't worn off.Why would a four year old girl want a snake, you ask? Well, I'll tell you the story: A few weeks before her birthday, we decided to scrap the fish tank we'd had since she was a baby. It had contracted something that was killing off all the sucker fish and I just really didn't want to change the water on a weekly basis--it's a BIG job. So I thought it would be fun to get something else to put in there for the kids for Christmas. So Raelin and I got on the internet and started looking at reptiles. I asked Raelin what reptiles she liked the best. She said snakes, so we started looking at different kinds of snakes.
Somehow she just decided that she was getting a snake for her birthday. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that was probably better then getting one for both kids for Christmas--Ryker's not old enough for that, and he's proved it several times over since we've had the snake. Anyway, we learned a LOT about them. Ask Raelin something about snakes sometime and see if she knows the answer. She knows what they eat, recognizes different species of them, knows that they are cold blooded and what that means, and knows how to clean the tank. We've also talked about venomous snakes and a few ways to tell noce snakes from not nice snakes (red next to yellow will kill a fellow and red next to black is a friend of Jack, and the wider cheeks). When we were snake shopping (I wanted Raelin to pick out the kind of snake she wanted and to tell me what color variations she liked the best. She was very definite on all the things she wanted. She wanted a corn snake, a girl one, and she liked the ones with the brighter red and orange colors best), Raelin kept talking about wrapping her snake in a blanket. We couldn't figure out why she thought that, but we were a little worried that she thought it would be like a cuddly doll or puppy. Then I realized that she wanted to give it a blanket because it was cold blooded! I explained that, for people, we make lots of our own heat and the blanket traps it, but for a snake who doesn't radiate much heat, a blanket doesn't really help (I've since read something that indicated that they do make their own heat, but they have no way of retaining it, so maybe a blanket would be useful to a snake...). We did put a little doll blanket in the cage anyway just for her and the snake loved to use it as a hiding place! Raelin was right; it does like blankets! Oh, the other thing about this snake adventure: we went through all of Toys R Us, putting things she liked into the cart for her to choose from at the end, and after that we asked her what she wanted most for her birthday. She leaped in the air and shouted, "A SNAKE!!!" I was so proud! What a girl!
So, she got her corn snake, a girl one, and she is beautiful! And, by the way, the snake is just a baby. It's about 14 inches, but it will grow to be anywhere from 3-5 feet! Raelin decided to name her Aurora. I asked her why she liked the name Aurora (I wanted to see if it was because of her auntie Aurora or if she remembered it from Sleeping Beauty or from somewhere else). She said, "Because it's a beautiful name, and because it's Auntie Raroo's name." So there you go, Aurora! You have a beautiful name and, now, a snake named after you. Aren't you proud!?

Something I think is fantastic about this little girl is how much she knows her mind. It wasn't just limited to wanting a snake. I'd been asking her for a while what kind of birthday she wanted. I like to make fun cakes for the kids and kind of theme the birthday around that--that's what my mom did and it was so fun. I'd asked Raelin often to see what answer she gave most consistently. At some point she decided to have a Santa birthday. Once she got that idea in her head, she never deviated. So we got out the Christmas decorations early and got lots of dollar store Santa stuff. And I made the hardest cake yet!And here is poor Brice. This is how he spent the evening. He was really feverish and congested and not feeling well at all. What a way to spend his daughter's birthday. So pitiful...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Raelin's Haircut

Do you like Raelin's haircut? Bangs and layers...they look pretty cute, don't you think? Well, there's just one problem: SHE DID IT HERSELF!!!! Yup, she's on her way to becoming a hairstylist. Her bangs were a little long and in her eyes, so I shortened them up just a little bit. But the rest was all her. Don't any of you dare tell her how cute her haircut is either! I'll never hear the end of it-- "But Mommy, I know how to do it! I can do a good job and I want it cut! I promise I won't mess up. I did it good last time!" Yeah, let's just not go there.
So I wrote this post a few days ago, but the pictures wouldn't load, so I just saved it. Guess what happened in the meantime. Yup, she took the scissors to her hair again. Yesterday, she was supposed to be taking a nap, but she snuck downstairs and CARRIED a chair from the kitchen to the living room (I would have heard her if she'd dragged it) and got scissors and candy off the top shelf of the bookshelves. She cut open the candy package and dumped all the candy into the recliner crevices and then she cut her hair and her clothes. Once again, it doesn't look too bad! Her hair, that is--the clothes are camping clothes now. Her bangs are a little short and the layers she added are only on her right side, but they are still cute layers! How does she manage that?!? I think we found her calling in life. She tells me what she wants me to do with her hair a lot--stuff that I wouldn't have thought of. After I do it how she tells me, I'm always stunned at what a cute idea it is! I don't have pictures of her newest haircut yet, but I'll get them up as soon as I can. I still have Raelin's birthday and Thanksgiving to catch up on--I got behind this month.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

Here are the Somers' family "punkins." Left to right: Brice's, Ryker's, Morgan's, and Raelin's. Raelin carved hers all by herself. It's a ghost and it's really good (though you can't really tell from the picture) for a four year old!

I tried a new kind of pumpkin carving this year. I found a book at the library that taught how to carve faces so I gave it a shot. It turned out pretty well. Not as good as the guy's in the book, but not bad for my first try. Here we are at our ward's trunk-or-treat. (Ooh, that reminds me, I'd better get the candy we brought out of the trunk before morning so it doesn't melt!) Momma the nurse, Daddy the M&M, Raelin the punkin, and Ryker the baseball.

This year's costumes were so easy! I bought an orange sweatshirt a few sizes too big, turned it inside out so the picture wouldn't show and sewed on a jack-o-lantern face cut from black fleece.
For Ryker's baseball, I got a white sweatshirt that was too big and used puffy paint to paint the stitches on the baseball. Stuff the sweatshirts, add matching sweat pants (black for Ryker and Raelin wanted orange) to complete the outfits and viola! Halloween is DONE!
We had an entourage of adults again this year and it was lots of fun! Grammy, Granddad, Uncle Jordan, Uncle Wee-yum, Uncle Wee-yum #2 (AKA Angel--Ryker sometimes calls her Uncle Wee-yum even though he knows she's Angel. It's hilarious!), Tia, and Uncle Toby all joined us for various parts of our Halloween festivities. Liam was the cutest cowboy you've ever seen and I don't have pictures of him (well, I do from my parent's house a few days ago--they're part of the previous post), but when I get them, I'll post them (It was dark by the time he joined us and my camera doesn't do so well in the dark). His costume morphed, as Angel cut away the fabric, from a baseball bat to a sting ray to a football to a monkey to a cowboy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Patch at Grammy's

We went to Grammy and Granddad's house to pick pumpkins from their garden and carve them. We saddled up one of the horses and rode around a bit, and what is a trip to Granddad's without riding the tractor!
The kids had fun picking out the pumpkins they wanted to carve...

And trying to pick up the REALLY HUGE ones!

Grammy's garden is on steroids and it grew a couple of hunormous ones.

Here are the kids in their costumes: Raelin the pumpkin, Ryker the baseball, and Liam the cowboy. Trying to get three kids to all look at the camera and smile at the same time seemed to be impossible that day!
But here's a cute one of the boys...And Kira

Raelin was missing in this picture, unfortunately, but other than that, it's one of the best ones we've gotten in a while.
And here is a group picture of most of those that came and played with us that day (not pictured: Stephanie and Angel--went to do a party for Stephanie's work, and Granddad--someone's got to be behind the camera) and our pumpkins.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's left...

Check this out! This is where Brice and I lived when we first got married. Actually, our apartment is (was) just outside the left side of the frame.

Fires are devastating a good portion of the town (Running Springs--"Slide Fire"). It's a town of about 5000 people and over 200 homes burned to the ground. So far, I don't know anyone personally that lost their house, but no one is allowed up yet, so the info comes from people that didn't evacuate and that are driving around and posting what they see on the internet. Addresses are hard to come by when there isn't a house to post it on.
Also, our phone has been down for almost two weeks, so I have only been in contact via e-mail. My father in law is still up there. He was in the safest part of the mountain, but in the beginning when things were pretty uncertain, he still insisted he was going to stay up there and ride it out.

This last picture is of my good friend Sue. She and her husband stayed up there and saved their house! The house behind her isn't hers, but rather the house her kids grew up in. They live in a little community of about 100 houses and more than 30 of them burned. Jack and Sue have spent the last few years building a new house in the same community and Brice has helped on several of their projects. Jack even did his own cabinetry and it's a work of art. I'm SO glad they didn't lose their home!

The fires are on day 4 in the mountains and one of them (yup, there's two) is 70% contained (the one that's between my parent's old house in Lake Arrowhead and my in law's house in Crestline--"Grass Valley Fire") and the Running Springs/Slide fire (where Brice and I lived) is only 15% contained which the firefighters did overnight last night--yesterday it was still 0% contained.

Pretty crazy huh!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Smarty Pants and Girly Man

So, this little almost four-year-old girl says the most amazing things! The way that she puts words together is beyond her hears. Unfortunately for her, hearing those sorts of things coming from such a little mouth makes us grown ups laugh and she thinks she's being laughed at. I know because I still remember when I was a kid and grown ups would laugh at me and didn't know why--I thought I had said something clever or intelligent and they thought I was funny. Now I get it, but then back then I was really hurt. Poor kids. Anyway, since she won't hear anyone's laughter, I'll tell you some stories about her grown up way of talking. The other day Angel and I were in the car talking and Raelin asked a question. Angel and I found my answer amusing and Raelin said, "I see nothing funny here!" to which Angel and I just laughed harder. Poor Raelin looked so forlorn! But she is just so CUTE!

This morning we were eating breakfast and Raelin was talking about some lions from a story and she said, "He wasn't nice to him when he was a little kid. A cub, I should say." What three-year-old says that!?! I love it! In this picture, she's a mommy with a baby in her tummy. She loves to play house with Ryker and she always wants a baby in her belly, even if she's the daddy.

Ryker is such a boy. Throwing, hitting, trucks, mud, all that good stuff. Until it comes to shoes... He loves to put on shoes. He tends to find girl ones more often than boy ones. So in this picture, my little girly-man is vacuuming like a good little housewife in his high heels with his tractor purse. That's a backhoe hanging from a camera strap slung over his shoulder. He cracks me up!

And he loves to have his hair done. Usually I just put a pony tail on top, but this time he brought me two hair ties so we did pig tails. What perfect little bangs! Hilarious!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

As Promised

Well, here are the pictures of Raelin and me that are pretty similar. Not as similar as I pictured in my head, but still pretty cute. Raelin looks more like her Daddy and her Mimi I think. Still, a couple of cute kids. Raelin is usually covered in Band-Aids as well--if Brice hasn't already used them all... And Raelin's fond of showing off her panties just like I appear to have been. Though, I remember very much disliking dresses and Raelin likes them, so that's a bit backwards in this pair of photots.